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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Raindrop Thoughts

It's raining. I was rereading my recent posts on here and felt the need to write. This is a free-write, because I am allowing my thoughts to roam so it can be transcribed here. I become very reflective at night, sometimes melancholy. Tonight, I feel calm after taking a warm shower and wearing my favorite body spray. I am not thinking of anything in particular. Some people are crossing my mind, I hope they are doing okay. I hope everyone I love and care about is doing okay.

Tomorrow is April 30, the last day of my birthday month. It was a good month. I'm happy to be walking better than before, and that I had a chance to take the subway. I am getting there, one step at a time. I have been spending time sitting at a nearby plaza/park after physical therapy. It not only relaxes me, but I get lunch from my friends at the nearby food truck. The coffee is excellent! I like people watching, sometimes get lost doing so and end up daydreaming. I'm always listening to music when I do this. I think a lot in general, but lately I've been focusing on how to move forward in this recovery. I want to work again, I want to live somewhere else, and begin to socialize.

I feel May will be the month for transition. It's a gut feeling I have and I'm going with it. I believe life is changing around me little by little. I returned to reading inspirational books. One of the things I've been reading is the importance of adventure and discovering the treasures around. I feel blessed that I am seeing these treasures each day I go outside. I collect things from old Metrocards to bottle caps. I love taking pictures, but when I take pictures of flowers or the sun, it becomes a hobby. Sometimes walking in a different section of a park, or taking a new route home is a treasure because it's new. People watching is cool too. I see some interesting fashions, especially handbags that I would like to have someday. Being financially poor has its advantages, because it allows you to appreciate things more. It humbles you.

I have been thinking about the future of the Creative Corner. I may discontinue it. I'm just not sure when I will do that. In writing my book, I realize it's an extension to this blog with more details. When it's done, what will be next? I haven't made any decisions, it's only a thought. I love writing on here. I feel people are reading it, and I hope they are enjoying reading my thoughts and reflecting experiences. I know I have enjoyed expressing them here. We'll see what happens.

The raindrops have stopped, so I guess I'll stop here too. Here's to a good night. You're in my thoughts and thanks for reading.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy 33rd Year of Life

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I am 33 years old and I feel renewed. This month has been wonderful and full of accomplishments. I am walking better, taking the subway, and revisited the waterfront. I am also proud to mention that I am a graduate student. I am pursuing a Master’s in Human Services at Concordia University, Nebraska. I am part of their online program.  I feel proud, because it happened unexpectedly. I did not plan to go to grad school for some time and now I begin class next month. One of the things that I’ve learned is when I take a laid back approach, things seems to work in my favor. With grad school, I knew I wanted to pursue it but didn’t have a set time frame. I decided to study human services as opposed to social work, because I have many interests. I want to concentrate on a field that encompasses all of those interests which includes social work, adult education, and emergency management. I feel this is the best route for me.

I took the subway for the first time after surgery which was four months ago. I didn’t feel uncomfortable. It was a nice ride on the F train, a ride I’ve always enjoyed. I used to work in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn and took that train there. Something about an elevated train ride makes me happy. I got off at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island station. I bought lunch at Dunkin Donuts and had their iced caramel latte. The guy who took my order was nice. His smile made me smile.  I didn’t mention my birthday. Maybe he already knew. I walked to the beach where a nice amount of people were out walking, or riding their bikes. I never mind that since I block all of that out and focus on the beach itself. Near the iconic parachute jump tower music plays. I think it’s coming from the tower itself. The music ranges from 80s to 90s era, and can be heard from the nearby pier and beach. The music was so good, I turned off my iPod. I sat by the pier and ate my lunch. I thanked friends on and off Facebook for the lovely birthday wishes. I watched the shoreline and felt the sun on my face. I felt at home.

I eventually made my way to the beach where I recorded a video. I expressed my happiness being 33 years old, and grateful I overcame the recent struggles I had over the past year. I then picked broken seashells and put them in a clear plastic bag. I love collecting seashells and rocks, but never have I collected broken shells. I like their jaggedness, and interesting colors. They’re good for crafting purposes as well as for display. Once I got to the shoreline, I took in deep breaths feeling the mist develop on my glasses. My lips felt salty and my eyes kept tearing from the oncoming breeze from the ocean. I sat on the sand, which felt warm, and began to reflect. I did this after taking numerous pictures of the shoreline, sun, and seagulls. Speaking of seagulls, they kept coming near me as I stared at the horizon. I feel like we have some kind of connection. They, like pigeons, tend to follow me when I’m nearby the water or at a park. I don’t mind, as long as they don’t poop on me!

I wrote down my feelings, and did a voice recording. The voice recording was the most personal, because I discussed my life when it comes to love. I’m still debating whether I want to share it publically or write about it in my book. We’ll see. I haven’t done a voice “reflection” in years. It felt good to release my feelings through voice, especially paying attention to changes in my tone as I talk about loving someone, wanting to be loved (by him or someone else), and the letting go process. As I write this, I realize just how personal that is to me. Again, we’ll see how I proceed with that. Staring at the horizon is where I get lost in thought. I don’t hear anything except the sound of the crashing waves and seagulls squealing. I recorded that too. 

The thing that hit home while reflecting is how much I desire living in a natural environment. I don’t want to travel to it anymore, but instead live in or near it. I recorded the sounds of the beach so I can listen to it when I’m not there. I don’t like my living environment. It’s the one thing that makes me very sad and something I don’t talk about often. I never liked my neighborhood and not very fond of the people who I live amongst. I have been feeling this way since 1990 when my family moved here. It’s been a long time. Going by the water, whether it’s the waterfront or the beach, it’s my escape from the foolishness I have to deal with at home (not with family). Sometimes, I cry just thinking about it. I think most people who know me feel I am happy all the time when in fact that isn’t always the case. I have my sadness, and at times feel empty inside when it comes to wanting certain things. I hide it by focusing on what makes me happy: God, school, work, helping people, writing, music, and nature. Love makes me happy especially when I love others. When it’s not reciprocated, that makes me sad. Working towards my goals and dreams is what keeps me going. If I didn’t have that, I don’t know where I would be. I think a lot when I’m by the water.

This birthday was more reflective than previous ones, because I was alone. I allowed myself to just be me.  It felt nice. Later, I saw my friend at the diner and she blessed me with a free slice of my favorite cake, strawberry shortcake. I saw my other friend at the discount store to buy some happy birthday balloons. Sadly, they only had “get well soon” balloons. I bought dinner from the Chinese takeout restaurant where I saw my other friend. I have friends everywhere! At home, I ate, had a little rum and coke, and thanked everyone for virtually sharing this day with me (I posted pictures of my travels on Facebook).

It was a nice day, and I look forward to what this new year of life will bring. Cheers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Waterfront Visit after Surgery

Stepping outside feeling the early breeze
The sun rises on a Saturday morning
This spring season has been a real tease
Happy to experience the weather again

At the bus hub sun pierces through the glass
The rays highlight pigments of my makeup
Gray sweater dress, blue tights, a lady with class
On a self-esteem high with music in my ears

Arrive downtown of rugged ground
Farmer’s market begin to set up shop
It is nice to see so many people around
Walking through the busy Borough Hall

Take another bus to go to my favorite place
Older gentleman says hello walking by me
Courtesy always put a smile on my face
An empty bus ride adds to the smile

Walking pass street art and history
Stopping to capture every moment
Feeling excited by what I see
Balancing the cane, camera and chai latte

Scent of the water draw me closer
Four months away from the flowing current
I am the reflective daydreamer
Finding self through every visit

Kids, a carrousel, and giant eggs on display
I sit idly watching the busy activity
Thanking the universe to see this day
The baby steps it took just to get here

Eventually standing at my favorite spot
Breathing in the air coming off the waves
The metal railing is not that hot
Lean forward as I begin to reflect

Thinking about the recovery process
Tiring and painful experiences
Appreciate it all and the success
Two surgeries down and I’m still here

Everyone is in their own bubble
Take comfort being in mine
Each of us go through our own cycle
That determines our return or departure

Embrace the bubbles that still remain
Releasing the ones that choose to float away
The friendships that continue to grow and sustain
May we find our way on this journey called life

Slowly walk away as the current moves
Feeling refreshed and happy
Change the playlist to another set of grooves
Smile as the sun guides my steps

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dara Takes The Bus: my adventure begins

April is off to a great start. As promised, I am celebrating me for the month, and doing all things that make me smile. I have been smiling, mainly because I accomplished a major goal. I took the bus and it felt great.

Saturday, April 5, 2014
The bus ride

I missed the infamous B38 bus, the same bus I’ve written articles about, and spoke at transit hearings regarding its service. There is something nostalgic in revisiting something you haven’t been to in a while. That was the feeling when I walked outside Saturday afternoon and was greeted by the sunlight. As I walked up the block to the B38 bus hub, it didn’t take long for a bus to pull up. Thankfully, I had my Metrocard in hand. Getting on the bus wasn’t difficult as I anticipated. I found a seat and that was it. I was riding on the bus. I couldn’t help but smile.

I would like to thank the Academy...
I went to a flea market. It was the first day to their season. It was crowded, many vendors selling both vintage and modern day items, as well as food. It was windy and my hair kept flying up. I didn’t mind. I felt pretty with my colorful outfit and makeup. I love wearing eye shadow, I always feel pretty wearing it. Yep, I’m back to my old self again. 

I enjoy going to flea markets, because I am a collector and I can get crafting ideas. I love collecting many things, most notably rocks and minerals. However, I love collecting metal objects, buttons, keys, and more. The more unique it is, the more I love it. I met some nice merchants who not only made me smile, but shared their experience being a merchant. I also enjoyed their positive energy. I admired what they were selling, from vintage clothes, skeleton keys, vinyl records, and my favorite, vintage milk and soda crates. The man selling them offered to drive them to my home upon sale. That’s good to know and I will be back. The same man had a replica of an Oscar award. So you know I had to take a picture.

I took the bus back home where I was standing for some time. I was concerned with the jerking motion of the bus, but I was fine. A lady allowed me to sit down which I appreciate. Being at the flea market confirmed my thought that there are hidden treasures everywhere. One never knows what he or she will find. That excites me, and I look forward to discovering more.

On Sunday, I relaxed and spent time with the family. Monday I received my new bed. I am happy but more humbled by that, because for years I’ve been sleeping on an old bed. I was literally sinking. How I survived sleeping on it with two surgeries is beyond me. It’s the little things we take for granted. Sleeping on a comfortable bed is priceless. I thank my Dad for this great gift. Now my hip and I can rest easy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Physical Therapy Update: health pros and woes

Pros: I went to physical therapy, and was told I am progressing well. I still need to work on my balance and walk. Otherwise I am doing well. Climbing upstairs is still a challenge, and that will take time. It felt good to tell my physical therapist I took the bus. She was happy for me. I have two therapists. Depending on the day, either one will work with me. After the stretching exercises, I did my own stretches looking at myself in the mirror. “Have I lost weight?” I said to myself. I know my family said I did, but I laughed it off. In looking at myself, I think they are right. My favorite, “Love the Hustle,” t-shirt is looking less snagged on me. Hmm…if I did lose weight, I am glad. I haven’t been eating much lately. I have little appetite and no desire for any specific food. I do PT at home almost every day along with basic stretches. l like the exercises at physical therapy, but riding the bike is my favorite. I always go into a daydream while riding. I tend to think of the waterfront which motivates me to work harder so I can go there. I miss it. Also, I want to take the subway. Baby steps, baby steps.

Woes: Recently, I went to my family doctor for pain I’ve been having in another part of the body. It’s personal so I won’t go into details. During examination, my doctor said she saw something. “This concerns me,” she said, as I tried not to get nervous. I am going to a specialist next month (unfortunately that’s the earliest appointment I could get). I have some tests to take. The pain continues and makes me feel uncomfortable. Ironically, I’ve had this problem dating back in 2010, and doctors couldn’t find anything at the time. I took some medicine and that was it. It left, came back, left again, and now it’s here. I don’t like this, but remaining positive. I don’t want this to upset me too much, because it will interfere with my happiness. I remain in prayer.

Reflection: After physical therapy, I bought a Metrocard and found some extra ones laying around. I collect them in general. They make cool crafting projects. I took a walk through Borough Hall, downtown Brooklyn and admired the sunset. I like the area. Earlier, I received some good news via email. I will share once everything is finalized, but the possibility is not only likely but exciting. I thank God for the blessings. Despite the ups and downs of recovery, the lonely times, and sometimes painful moments (physically), I am still here. I am still trying. My dream lives on, and I will keep working at it one step/bus ride at a time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy April: Celebration of Dara

It’s April 1st and I am surprisingly excited. I don’t have any special plans. My birthday is on the 22nd, and I am turning 33. So why the excitement you may ask? Every April, I strive to not only be happy but to celebrate me. This goal only started a few years ago when I became disappointed by a birthday that didn’t turn out the way I wanted. In fact, I ended up drinking a beer, and watch the sunset at home feeling miserable. That was the first and last time I had a day like that. I decided never to have one like it again. Every April since then I made a personal goal to have no expectations, don’t look for anything from anyone, and definitely not feel lonely. Drinking a beer and watching the sunset isn’t bad, but it can be when you’re not happy. My students always made my birthdays special. It was always unexpected, and one of the many times I felt appreciated. I miss that. My family made things special as well. Although, I am older and we don’t do the cake and ice cream anymore, they still remind me how much they love me. Then there are those friends who made me laugh or were just there to celebrate my special day. Overall, I am a lucky lady.

What makes this year different? For starters, I am still not 100% healed from hip surgery. I still have to take it easy, and take baby steps. I guess no dancing in my near future just yet! The other thing is I am home most of the time, and when I do go out it’s via car service. I still cannot take the subway. This is one of the reasons I haven’t thought about making any plans to do anything. The bright side is I no longer celebrate my birth on the actual day only. I celebrate for the whole month. The goal is to do all things that make me smile. The challenge is to not get upset by my circumstances. I always like to say, “I may not have much, but I make it work with what I do have.”

I feel happy this year. I have accomplished a lot, and it’s only getting better. I call this my treasure box. The treasure box consists of the things I tend to do well in. The dream is very much alive, and I believe each step I take will pay off sooner than later. That excites me most. When it happens, I will reveal it here. My book is going well. I’m at 32,000+ words. I’m close to reaching the 50,000 word goal. That excites me too. I’m proud that I have been keeping on with my main goal, “To do all the things you were told you couldn’t or were too afraid to try.”

Here are a few examples:

Applied for a NYC craft entrepreneurship program where candidates learn how to sell their crafts online (creating an online store). As of last night, I was informed that I am a semi-finalist. Yay!

Completed a training I’ve been wanting to do for over a year now. It’s a hurricane shelter training with the NYC Office of Emergency Management. It prepares one to volunteer in opening and operating a temporary shelter in emergencies such as a hurricane.

Took a digital journalism online course where I learned how to create audio slideshows using Audacity and Soundslides software.

Today I am a volunteer grant writer for iN Education, Inc. My profile can be seen here:  This is exciting to me, because I’ve been trained in grant writing but haven’t actually written one. I look forward to working with a team of other writers who are passionate about education.

Lastly, I’ve been networking with other writers to understand the writing/publishing business. I feel I am making some headway in something I’m striving to accomplish. Being a published author would not only be an accomplishment, but a testament to who I am.

Here’s to a month of smiles and (hopefully) more accomplishments. I may not be able to walk well, but that won’t stop me from walking.

PS: I am still crafting and getting ideas from Google, YouTube, and stores such as Goodwill. This Mason jar I brought for $1.99 from the Goodwill is going to be my wish jar. I will write all my wishes on small pieces of paper, and put it in this jar. By the end of the year, I will see how many wishes that came true. Hey you never know!